“Now is the time to lay the foundations needed to achieve our climate goals” London Councils champions a green recovery from Covid-19

  • By MadeleineHardy

Eight proposals for tackling the climate emergency and safeguarding London’s environmental future have been unanimously agreed by London Councils’ Leaders Committee.

London must prioritise the climate emergency as part of a green, sustainable and inclusive recovery from Covid-19, London Councils Leaders’ Committee heard last week. This will lead to economic and environmental benefits that will help tackle health issues and inequalities.  

The eight proposals include improving the energy efficiency of London’s homes and public buildings, growing London’s green economy and making it more accessible, working via the planning system to prioritise net zero developments and developing innovative funding and financing proposals to tackle the climate emergency.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, London has enjoyed huge environmental benefits resulting from lockdown. There have been fewer cars on the road, improved air quality and a surge in active travel as more people use walking and cycling as a way to complete journeys.

London boroughs agreed that they now have a golden opportunity build on this, with the aim of reducing London’s carbon emissions and environmental impact to net zero over the next 10 years.

So far, boroughs have repurposed public spaces to make it safer for larger numbers of people to walk and cycle, including  wider pavements, pop-up bike lanes and cycle and bus-only corridors. They have also worked with their business communities to promote local high streets and businesses and support shorter, more resilient supply chains. 

London Councils and London boroughs will now work together on turning these proposals into action, in collaboration with other London organisations.

Cllr Claire Holland, Chair of London Councils' Transport and Environment Committee, said: 

“London boroughs are committed to a green recovery from Covid-19 that faces up to the enormity of the climate emergency and the threat it poses if we do nothing. Now more than ever, we can see the health and environmental benefits of alternative travel and working practices for Londoners. 

“By prioritising a green recovery which focuses on low carbon solutions, London boroughs and our partners can achieve shared climate ambitions while supporting the transition from a high carbon economy to a net zero carbon economy. Now is the time to lay the foundations needed to achieve our climate goals.

“It would be disastrous to let this opportunity to tackle the climate emergency pass by. By working together and building on these eight proposals, we can shape a healthier city, support local recovery and work to tackle inequality by providing green skills and jobs throughout London.”